Author(s): Fry PS, Debats DL
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Abstract The aim of the research was to determine within a single study the extent to which demographic factors, self-rated-health and psychosocial factors present the strongest risks or benefits to older adults' mortality in the course of a 5.9-year longitudinal follow-up. The initial sample of 732 individuals was drawn randomly from the registry listings of four municipal branch offices of the Social Services and Community Associations for seniors in Southern Alberta. The final recruitment of 380 participants was based on a representative sample of elders who volunteered participation. A three-part Cox regression analyses model of predictor variables, controlling for age and subsequently controlling for self-rated health and self-rated physical functioning, was implemented to study gender differences in a number of socio-demographic and psychosocial factors, including individuals' sources of internal strengths. As hypothesized, individuals' sources of internal strengths (i.e., Perceptions of Self -Efficacy, Internal Control, Personal Maturity, Personal Commitments, and Social Engagement) are central to the prediction of mortality of both men and women. For men lower education and low levels of perceived internal control, personal commitment, and physical functioning are associated with the greatest threat to mortality but these factors are largely inconsequential for women's survival. By contrast, low levels of perceived social support and social engagement present the greatest risk to women's mortality. Implications of the findings are discussed with respect to factors that contribute to late-life longevity.
This article was published in Int J Aging Hum Dev
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research